Monday, May 25, 2015

"Openness" and Facebook as a personality diagnostic

An academic report has just come out about who posts what on Facebook. The sample is, regrettably, a Mechanical Turk one, so the findings are of unknown generalizability to any population. They may however represent brighter people fairly well.

The finding that caught my eye was "Openness is positively associated with updating about intellectual topics".  We also read that "people who are high in openness tend to be creative, intellectual, and curious".

I should mention at this point that there is a large psychological literature dating back to at least 1950 in which Leftists congratulate themselves for having just such traits.  And, conversely, they claim, but never clearly prove, that conservatives are the opposite of that.  According to conventional wisdom in political psychology, we conservatives are closed-minded and rigid.  From their behavior, I would have thought that that cap fitted Leftists a lot better but I will leave that aside for the moment.  They are certainly not open to evidence and argument on things like global warming.

I have written a great deal on why the conventional psychological  characterization is false, with my most recent shot in that direction here.

The basic fault in the Leftist research on the topic is that there is a great deal of "spin" in how they refer to things.  To take the simplest example, you would think that a desire for order would be a generally good thing.  What scientists do, after all, is search for order in the phenomena of nature.  So what do you do when you find that conservatives are high on a desire for order?  You relabel it as "intolerance of ambiguity".  I kid you not.  Something good instantly becomes something bad. It's typical Leftist "proof" -- proof that proves nothing.  Anyway, my various academic papers shooting down the nonsense are accessible here

So what pleased me was purely something personal.  What I put up on Facebook is precisely what "open" people put up -- posts on scientific and political matters.  I come out as the opposite of what Leftists think a conservative is.

Whether conservatives generally post mostly that way is of course unknown but could be of interest to study.  When personality scores (based on how people describe themselves) correlate with actual behaviour (as in what you use Facebook for) that does add some confidence that one is studying something real.

Journal abstract below but the whole article is publicly accessible at the same link

The Big Five, self-esteem, and narcissism as predictors of the topics people write about in Facebook status updates

Tara C. Marshall et al.


Status updates are one of the most popular features of Facebook, but few studies have examined the traits and motives that influence the topics that people choose to update about. In this study, 555 Facebook users completed measures of the Big Five, self-esteem, narcissism, motives for using Facebook, and frequency of updating about a range of topics.

Results revealed that extraverts more frequently updated about their social activities and everyday life, which was motivated by their use of Facebook to communicate and connect with others.

People high in openness were more likely to update about intellectual topics, consistent with their use of Facebook for sharing information.

Participants who were low in self-esteem were more likely to update about romantic partners, whereas those who were high in conscientiousness were more likely to update about their children.

Narcissists’ use of Facebook for attention-seeking and validation explained their greater likelihood of updating about their accomplishments and their diet and exercise routine. Furthermore, narcissists’ tendency to update about their accomplishments explained the greater number of likes and comments that they reported receiving to their updates.

Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 85, October 2015, Pages 35–40


The Utter Stupidity of Hillary's Actions: Verified

Hillary's utter stupidity proven by her own stupid email
A few weeks ago I wrote an article entitled "The Utter Stupidity of Hillary's Actions" about how Hillary's unsecure email system likely caused major damage to national security.  Now we have the first proof.

According to a New York Times article  Hillary's private email provided details of the movements of Americans in Benghazi as the situation deteriorated.  According to the Times:

"Mrs. Clinton's emails show that she had a special type of government information known as "sensitive but unclassified," or "SBU," in her account. That information included the whereabouts and travel plans of American officials in Libya as security there deteriorated..."

The vulnerabilities of Hillary's unsecure email system have been acknowledge by information security experts.  I am perhaps the only one to assert openly the compromised email system in use by the Secretary of State was absolutely being read by multiple intelligence services, including the Russians, Chinese and others.

If the information above made it into the hands of the local terrorists (through Russian allies, or some other route), then Hillary is doubly culpable in the death's of the Americans in Benghazi.  Not only did she abandon her team when it counted most (for details, see this article) her incompetence in keeping information secure may have contributed to the terrorists' success in planning this attack.

The New York Times currently only has a portion of the emails Ms. Clinton has provided.  It will be interesting to see what other damage her foolish actions have caused.



Victory! Senate Votes Against Patriot Act Renewal!

Particularly from a libertarian viewpoint, the so-called Patriot act is a horrible piece of legislsation

This is a major victory. Late last night, the Senate held two votes. The first was on the USA Freedom Act, a piece of legislation to "reform" the NSA's data collection methods. In reality, the NSA would have been just as powerful and able to spy on Americans which is why Senators like Rand Paul rejected it.

The vote was 57-42, which fell three votes short of the 60-vote threshold to pass. The USA Freedom Act was rejected.

Then, not to be outdone, Mitch McConnell staged a vote for a clean renewal of the Patriot Act. Even though the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA's data collection methods were illegal, Mitch McConnell wants to renew them.

The vote on the clean renewal was 45-54, missing the threshold by 15-votes. Another rejected attempt to renew the Patriot Act.

We did it! Instead of keeping the Senate in session like he threatened to, Mitch McConnell conceded. Now, in all likelihood, the most atrocious parts of the Patriot Act will end!

But not so fast... Senator McConnell has scheduled an emergency session for May 31, the day before these Patriot Act provisions expire. This is when he and the RINOs will stage their last stand.

Right now, it is important to thank all those who voted against infringing on Americans' 4th Amendment rights. But with that said, we need to take this opportunity to remind Congress that when Leadership calls for another vote in the coming days, we expect for them to vote against this horrible legislation once again.



The Odd Millions: Clintons Disclose More Clandestine Cash

It seems like Hillary Clinton's campaign is trying to get all the bad news out early (though there isn't much good news). That way, the toxic waste might reach half-life before the primary election.

The Clinton Foundation released more details into how the Clintons went from "dead broke" to One Percenters, and it shows the family's overpriced speaking fees raked in $12 to $26.4 million more than previously disclosed. The money came from colleges, Wall Street companies like Goldman Sachs and foreign governments like Qatar.

The Clintons didn't disclose these payments because they counted them as revenue for a service, not donations. But in effect, this allowed groups to hand the Clintons a pile of undisclosed cash.

Members of Congress sent a letter to the IRS asking it to reconsider the Clinton Foundation's tax-exempt status. While asking the government to investigate the Clintons is valid, the letter may galvanize Democrats to rally around Clinton.

Instead, Republicans should let Clinton twist in the wind. Either progressives realize Clinton doesn't represent their idealism and challenge her majesty's claim to the Oval Office, or they wear her like an albatross.



Sid Blumenthal Changed His Benghazi Story

On Wednesday, we noted that longtime Clinton friend and adviser Sidney Blumenthal told Hillary on Sept. 12, 2012, that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was sparked by a YouTube video.

But after beginning to comb over some of Clinton's released emails, The New York Times reports this gem: "The next day [September 13], Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a more thorough account of what had occurred. Citing 'sensitive sources' in Libya, the memo provided extensive detail about the episode, saying that the siege had been set off by members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan terrorist group. Those militants had ties to Al Qaeda, had planned the attacks for a month and had used a nearby protest as cover for the siege, the memo said.

'We should get this around asap' Mrs. Clinton said in an email to [her then-deputy chief of staff] Mr. Sullivan. 'Will do,' he responded. That information contradicted the Obama administration's narrative at the time about what had spawned the attacks. Republicans have said the administration misled the country about the attacks because it did not want to undermine the notion that President Obama, who was up for re-election, was winning the war on terrorism."

So Hillary knew with certainty two days after the attack that it wasn't the spontaneous protest against an obscure Internet video that Barack Obama, Susan Rice and others in his administration would continue to claim for weeks afterward. And she knew this truth before she looked the father of slain former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods in the eye and promised, "We're going to have the person responsible for that video arrested."

It may turn out Hillary wishes she had released these emails before they became such a big story.



The Power of Lies — and Abraham Lincoln

I think Paul Craig Roberts in his comments below goes a bit  over the top in calling the USA of Lincoln's day an empire.  But Abraham Lincoln himself made clear (e.g. in his famous letter to Horace Greeley) that the pre-eminent purpose of his war was to save "the union". In practice that meant government of the people by the Northern elite for the Northern elite

It is one of history’s ironies that the Lincoln Memorial is a sacred space for the Civil Rights Movement and the site of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Lincoln did not think blacks were the equals of whites. Lincoln’s plan was to send the blacks in America back to Africa, and if he had not been assassinated, returning blacks to Africa would likely have been his post-war policy.

As Thomas DiLorenzo and a number of non-court historians have conclusively established, Lincoln did not invade the Confederacy in order to free the slaves. The Emancipation Proclamation did not occur until 1863 when opposition in the North to the war was rising despite Lincoln’s police state measures to silence opponents and newspapers. The Emancipation Proclamation was a war measure issued under Lincoln’s war powers. The proclamation provided for the emancipated slaves to be enrolled in the Union army replenishing its losses. It was also hoped that the proclamation would spread slave revolts in the South while southern white men were away at war and draw soldiers away from the fronts in order to protect their women and children. The intent was to hasten the defeat of the South before political opposition to Lincoln in the North grew stronger.

The Lincoln Memorial was built not because Lincoln “freed the slaves,” but because Lincoln saved the empire. As the Savior of the Empire, had Lincoln not been assassinated, he could have become emperor for life.

As Professor Thomas DiLorenzo writes: “Lincoln spent his entire political career attempting to use the powers of the state for the benefit of the moneyed corporate elite (the ‘one-percenters’ of his day), first in Illinois, and then in the North in general, through protectionist tariffs, corporate welfare for road, canal, and railroad corporations, and a national bank controlled by politicians like himself to fund it all.”

Lincoln was a man of empire. As soon as the South was conquered, ravaged, and looted, his collection of war criminal generals, such as Sherman and Sheridan, set about exterminating the Plains Indians in one of the worst acts of genocide in human history. Even today Israeli Zionists point to Washington’s extermination of the Plains Indians as the model for Israel’s theft of Palestine.

The War of Northern Aggression was about tariffs and northern economic imperialism. The North was protectionist. The South was free trade. The North wanted to finance its economic development by forcing the South to pay higher prices for manufactured goods. The North passed the Morrill Tariff which more than doubled the tariff rate to 32.6% and provided for a further hike to 47%. The tariff diverted the South’s profits on its agricultural exports to the coffers of Northern industrialists and manufacturers. The tariff was designed to redirect the South’s expenditures on manufactured goods from England to the higher cost goods produced in the North.

This is why the South left the union, a right of self-determination under the Constitution.

The purpose of Lincoln’s war was to save the empire, not to abolish slavery.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fine to be a Muslim in Britain but not a Jehovah's Witness?

Jehovah's Witnessses are strict Bible Christians much like the Puritans of old. They are however so strict about what the Bible says that they are one of the few Christian religions to acknowledge that the cross is an old pagan sex symbol.  It symbolizes a penis entering spread legs.

The words in the original Greek of the Bible which are translated as cross are stauros and xylon, which mean "stake" and "wood" respectively.  No word meaning "cross" is used. Jesus was executed with his hands nailed together over his head. So the cross story is just another pagan accretion like Christmas, Easter and observing the sabbath on a Sunday.

The little boy in the story below was therefore simply reflecting what the Bible says.  It's a sad and strange day in a country formed by strict Bible Christians when the Koran is more acceptable than the Bible.  No criticism of Islam is of course acceptable in Britain

A Jehovah's Witness' seven-year-old son has been taken into care because she damaged him with her 'religious beliefs and practices', a family court judge has ruled.

Judge Clifford Bellamy concluded that the boy had suffered 'emotional harm' from his mother and decided he would be better off with foster parents.

The young boy had been disruptive in school during lessons touching on Christianity, destroying projects and calling bible stories lies, a court heard.

Social services also believed the unnamed little boy was also at the centre of a rift between his parents so will no longer be living with either of them.

Detail of the case has emerged in a written ruling by the judge following a family court hearing in Leicester but Judge Bellamy said no-one involved could be identified.

A member of staff at the youngster's school had told how the boy had said he 'could not be with people who didn't believe in Jehovah', said the judge.

The little boy had cut up materials his class was using in an exercise about the 'Crucifixion story' and had said, 'nobody's telling the true stories about Jehovah', the judge heard.

He had also 'presented as contemptuous, grimacing somewhat theatrically' when speaking about the 'non-Jehovah's Witness Bible'.

'I am satisfied that the fact that (he) has been immersed by his mother in her religious beliefs and practices has been a significant factor in causing that emotional harm.'

The judge said there were also concerns about the boy's relationship with his father.  He said the youngster had spoken of his father being 'really mean to me' and had said: 'I don't love daddy at all.'

Social services staff had also thought the boy was being harmed by 'conflict' between his parents.

Judge Bellamy said he was satisfied that 'change' was required and that the youngster should be placed with experienced foster carers.  He indicated that he would review the case later in the summer.

The boy's mother had not accepted that he had been harmed by 'immersion' in her religion and had denied introducing him to her religion in a bid to alienate him from his father



Social Justice as a Sacrament

If it was justice, it would not need the adjective in front of it

“Social Justice” is a religion. It has saints, dogma, and sacraments. It also has backsliders and apostates. As any religion knows, apostates must be dealt with lest they lead the rest of the flock astray. So any expression that shows them to be in any way rejecting the creeds of Social Justice must be met with a inquisitorial zeal. They must be made to recant…not just for the safety of the flock but for the good of their own souls. If they, like the proverbial village in Vietnam, have to be destroyed in order to be saved…well…so be it.

The interesting thing is that positions that were blessed by the SJWs in the past become rapidly outmoded and outdated and thus…incorrect. Evolve too slowly and one is a throwback reactionary who does not believe in progress, despite the fact that one’s views may be utterly in harmony with the doctrine of the church of Social Justice from only a few years ago.

SJWs cannot evolve too quickly either. That risks alienating the mass of SJWs who are not yet ready for more advanced views. But they do have a vanguard group who agitates for the more extreme positions, knowing that a slighly less extreme compromise will lead the faithful by the nose to the positions staked out by the vanguard over time.

Four decades ago it was decriminalizing homosexuality and legalizing abortion. Suggesting homosexuals should have the ability to marry and adopt would have been unacceptable except among a small group. And pushing for things like partial birth abortion would not even have been mentioned because it would have been too barbarous to be considered. Today, subscribing to these views is a requirement, a holy crusade for equality. Denying these “rights” today is sin. And the SJW church will require one to immediately confess their sin and be forced to undergo a struggle session to get their mind right.

But the interesting thing to watch is the avant-garde views that are slowly assimilated by the mass and made mainstream. What are the avant-garde views today? Where, in other words, are the SJWs headed?

This seems to me one of the reasons that aging liberals often wake up and begin adopting more moderate and in some cases even conservative views…because they were comfortable with progress up to a point but the movement has gone beyond their arbitrarily chosen boundries and they too suddenly find themselves athwart history yelling stop.

It is also one of the reasons why the “former liberal conversos” are extremely dubious, in my opinion. They often fail to acknowledge that it was their own efforts to promote “progress” in the first place that has landed all of us where we are now.

There is no compromise with progressivism and trying to stop it at some line drawn in the sand is a fool’s errand. Trying to hold them at bay cedes momentum to the progressives. Only a concerted campaign to destroy progressives root and branch by forcing the march of history in the other direction will ever have an effect.

Don’t want to be forced to support and defend homosexual marriage? Then arguing for a live and let live approach is stupid. Homosexuals certainly aren’t content with that.

Only forcing the issue the other direction offers hope.

Don’t want to be forced to have your tax money pay for contraception and abortions on demand? Then stop tolerating the existence of abortion which makes that the likeliest outcome over time.

In short, the only solution is to crush the SJWs. Remember…nits make lice. Extirpate them early and often.



Israel’s New Deputy FM: ‘This Land is Ours. All of It’

Israel – all of it – belongs to the Jewish people, the country’s new deputy foreign minister declared Thursday, citing a religious text and saying it was time Israeli diplomats stop using smart arguments in explaining Israel’s case to the international community, and “tell the world that we’re right.”

In remarks certain to infuriate the Palestinians and their supporters, Tzipi Hotovely told foreign ministry employees, speaking in Hebrew, “It’s important to say this land is ours. All of it is ours. We didn’t come here to apologize for that.”

The 36 year-old Hotovely, a member of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, is a vocal supporter of the right of Jews to live in what observant Jews like her describe as Israel’s biblical heartland, Judea and Samaria – or what the world calls the West Bank, demanded by the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) for an independent state.

“We must return to the basic truth about our right to the land,” Israeli media quoted her as saying. “Of course the world understands Israel’s security needs, but arguments of ethics and justice will trump security arguments.”

Against the backdrop of today’s debates over rights to the land, Hotovely cited a Torah commentary by a medieval rabbi, Rashi (Shlomo Yitzhaki), who said that should Jews be challenged about having stolen the land from the Canaanites, they should reply that God, who created everything, was entitled to take land away from one people and give it to the Jews if he so desired.

During an English portion of her comments, Hotovely said the government expects the international community to back up Netanyahu’s demand that Israel be recognized as the Jewish national state.

“And moreover, we expect as a matter of principle the international community recognize Israel’s right to build homes for Jews in their homeland – everywhere,” she added, in a clear reference to communities in disputed territory widely regarded as “illegal settlements.”

Netanyahu’s new cabinet does not yet include a foreign minister – the prime minister has acting responsibility for the portfolio – which means Hotovely is effectively Israel’s top diplomat.

In Thursday’s speech she also accused the P.A. of focusing more on pressurizing Israel in the international community than on returning to negotiations leading to a resolution to the conflict.

“Unilateral steps by the Palestinians in the international arena will only impair a resolution and will not advance them in any way,” Hotovely said.

“This is maybe the biggest challenge of Israel, the fact that at the moment the legal arena is as important as the diplomatic arena, and the fact that the Palestinians are trying to convict Israel more than they would like to get to the negotiation table,” she added, in a likely reference to the International Criminal Court.

Israel’s left-wing Ha’aretz newspaper headlined Hotovely’s citing of a rabbi, and said diplomats present during the speech said “her remarks raised eyebrows among many in the audience.”

The paper quoted one unnamed diplomat as saying her listeners were “in shock,” never having been advised before to use a Torah commentary in their diplomatic efforts around the world.

Oval Office credibility

On the eve of his re-election in March, Netanyahu unsettled the Obama administration by appearing to rule out Palestinian statehood on his watch, saying that establishing a Palestinian state today would amount to yielding territory to the rising forces of radical Islam, which would use that territory as a launchpad for attacks against Israel.

In a lengthy interview with week with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, President Obama explained why his administration had responded to Netanyahu’s comment as it had.

“When something like that happens, that has foreign-policy consequences, and precisely because we’re so close to Israel, for us to simply stand there and say nothing would have meant that this office, the Oval Office, lost credibility when it came to speaking out on these issues,” he said.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu told visiting European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini that he does support the “two-state solution,” but reiterated his long-stated conditions that a Palestinian state must be demilitarized, and must recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The P.A. has repeatedly rejected both.

The French newspaper Le Figaro reported Wednesday that France is drafting a U.N. Security Council resolution that will set an 18-month timetable for a final status agreement between Israel and the P.A. resulting in Palestinian statehood.

A similar bid in 2014 drew U.S. opposition, although the administration did not in the end have to use its veto to defeat it, as the resolution did not receive the minimum support – nine of the council’s 15 members – for it to advance.



Boy Scouts of America President Endangers Youth with PC Policy Supporting Gay Scout Leaders

In a statement, Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates said that not allowing gay adults in the Scouts is an “unsustainable” policy.

Mr. Gates’ recommendation is an illustration of the extent to which commitment to political correctness can cloud the judgment even of someone who usually is able to apply sound judgment to issues.  Not in this case.

It’s puzzling that someone would want to argue that it’s a good idea to have a homosexual—who, by self-definition, is attracted to individuals of the same sex—become Boy Scout leaders of groups of boys, where they will be placed in potentially compromising situations on camping trips and other outings.

For example, who in their right mind would suggest that heterosexual men should be Girl Scout masters and lead groups of minor girls in troop activities? This would be cause for outcry. Why? Because heterosexual men are attracted to females. For the same reasons you wouldn’t want heterosexual men being Girl Scouts, you shouldn’t have homosexual men become Boy Scout leaders.

It’s simply good judgment not to put underage adolescents in a situation where an adult supervisor is in potentially compromising situations with someone to whom they may be attracted sexually. As the parent of one son and two daughters, I certainly wouldn’t have wanted this for my children. This is a case of the Boy Scouts’ president being taken captive by political correctness. Morality aside, this is an issue of sound judgment and society’s obligation to protect its underage citizens.



That pesky reality again


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Friday, May 22, 2015

The wide-ranging influence of genetics

The Left long denied the influence of genetics but now simply ignore it.  The study below is therefore powerful evidence of just how wrong they are.  Hans Eysenck, a considerable student of genetics, once said to me, "It's ALL genetic".  He was of course making a conversational statement to a colleague rather than a precise scientific one but the present study does confirm one sense of what he said:  ALL traits have a substantial genetic component. And the writer below makes the correct and important point that the 50/50 split observed is only an average and that the genetic contribution varies from trait to trait.  So the findings do not overturn the usual finding that IQ is about two thirds genetic

It's a question that dogged scientists for close to a century and Queensland researchers say they have the answer.  When it comes to health, in the age-old battle of nature versus nurture… It's a draw.

University of Queensland research fellow Dr Beben Benyamin worked with scholars at the VU University of Amsterdam to review almost every twin study completed globally in the past 50 years.

After analysing studies of more than 14.5 million twin pairs across 17,804 traits from 2748 publications, they found variation for human traits and diseases was 49 per cent genetic (nature), and 51 per cent due to environmental factors (nurture).

The Queensland Brain Institute researcher said the draw was expected but he was pleased to be able to put a number on the variation and surprised by how similar an influence each aspect had.

"Most of the reviews have been for specific traits, like people are interested in studying one particular disease and review all the twin studies for one disease," he said.  "But this is I think is the first one to review everything about all disease and all twin studies that are available at the moment."

The influence of nature and nurture is actually a complex interplay rather than a simple either/or and is far from equal across all traits and diseases.

The risk for bipolar disorder was about 70 per cent due to genetics and 30 per cent due to environmental factors, Dr Benyamin found.



Denying Reality Itself: Progressivism's Last Gasp

Two seemingly unrelated stories need to be linked together in order to more fully explain the dogged determination of an American Left hell bent on fundamentally transforming the United States by any means necessary.

Let’s begin with the latest and completely unsurprising revelation regarding illegal immigration. According to a report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, the backlog in federal immigration courts has reached an all-time high of 445,706 cases, representing a 30 percent increase since Oct 1, 2013. The principal driver of that backlog? Last summer’s border “surge” that included “68,500 unaccompanied children and about as many family units crossing the southern border, most from Central America,” the LA Times reports.

As a result there is a four-year backlog with a number of cases scheduled to be heard in 2019.

And in a testament to the corruption that attends this reality, Obama administration officials are expecting another surge this summer. Actually it’s already begun, but not to worry: It’s just the second-biggest surge of all time with “only” 15,647 unaccompanied children jumping the border in the first six months of the fiscal year, compared to 28,579 that came across at this point in 2014. Ditto for “family units,” of which the 13,911 currently apprehended represents a 30 percent decrease compared to last year. “These statistics show that the surge of illegal arrivals from Central America was never really over,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies, who added that Congress and the Obama administration have done nothing to end the “pull factors” that drive this rampant lawlessness.

It gets worse. “The Congressional Research Service told Congress in late March that 62 percent of the children failed to show up for their cases before immigration judges from July through February,” The Washington Times reports. “All of them were ordered deported, but the workload of officials made deportation unlikely in most cases.” In other words, we have a completely overloaded system, about to be further overloaded, resulting in thousands of additional illegals entering the nation and staying for as long as they please — because they will doubtlessly be deliberately dispersed throughout the entire country by the Obama administration, just as they were last year, making it virtually impossible to keep track of them.

In short, everything is going exactly as it was intended to go.

The rule of law? In February, Federal Judge Andrew S. Hanen ordered the administration to cease its amnesty efforts, insisting the president had overstepped his constitutional boundaries. At the time Justice Department lawyers assured Hanen that Obama's order would not be implemented until the outcome of Hanen’s stay was adjudicated.

Oops Number One was revealed in March, when the Obama administration admitted 108,000 immigrants had been granted three-year renewals of their previously deferred status instead of two years. “You said it’s not happening,” Hanen snapped at the time. “And like an idiot I believed that.”

Oops Number Two occurred just over two weeks ago when government lawyers admitted they had defied Hanen’s order and approved an additional 2,000 applications for three-year work permits. "The government sincerely regrets these circumstances and is taking immediate steps to remedy these erroneous three-year terms,“ administration lawyers said. What steps? The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS) is asking those who received "erroneously issued" employment authorization documents (EAD) to return them. No doubt that will work just as well as the aforementioned demand that illegals show up for immigration hearings.

Hanen was considering whether to issue sanctions against the Obama administration — after the first revelation. Anyone else think a contempt of court finding and jail terms would be a better outcome following this latest outrage?

Yet as outrageous as this effort to deconstruct American culture is, it pales by comparison to the one being contemplated by Fairfax County Public Schools. They are planning to introduce a concept known as "gender fluidity” into their family life curriculum for grades 7 through 12. “Students will be provided definitions for sexual orientation terms heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality; and the gender identity term transgender,” the district’s recommendations state. “Emphasis will be placed on recognizing that everyone is experiencing changes and the role of respectful, inclusive language in promoting an environment free of bias and discrimination.”

The document continues: “Emphasis will be placed on an understanding that there is a broader, boundless, and fluid spectrum of sexuality that is developed throughout a lifetime. Sexual orientation and gender identity terms will be discussed with focus on appreciation for individual differences.”

This latest insanity follows another agenda, approved by a vote of 10 to 1 with one abstention, to add “gender identity” to the curriculum’s non-discrimination policy. It allows boys who insist they are girls trapped in a boy’s body to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. Board member Ryan McElveen characterized the changes as the “the civil rights issue of our day,” even as he insisted the changes would initially be implemented on a case-by-case basis.

School Board spokesman John Torre insisted the latest changes have nothing to do with the previous vote and he insisted parents will be able to opt out of classes "including the sexual orientation and gender identity lessons.“

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council accurately describes the indoctrination that will be taking place. "The larger picture is this is really an attack on nature itself — the created order,” he insisted. “Human beings are created male and female. But the current transgender ideology goes way beyond that. They’re telling us you can be both genders, you can be no gender, you can be a gender that you make up for yourself. And we’re supposed to affirm all of it.”

Fox News' Todd Starnes gets to the real agenda. He asked the district to provide him with “the textbooks and scientific data they will be using to instruct the children that there are dozens and dozens of possible genders.” Torre’s response? "Lessons have not been developed for the proposed lesson objectives,“ he stated. "Because of the need to develop lessons, the proposed objectives would not be implemented until fall 2016.”

“In other words — they don’t have a clue,” Starnes rightly asserts.

Why should they? This isn’t about science, it’s about pure unadulterated indoctrination being imposed by radical leftist bullies who will invariably label anyone who disagrees with their agenda as a “bigot,” much like those who refuse to countenance the free-for-all at our southern border are labeled “xenophobes” or “nativists.”

Why are these stories related? Because they are both calculated efforts aimed at destroying long-held beliefs in concepts such as the rule of law, national sovereignty, traditional customs culture and religion, sexual identity, biological imperatives and, inevitably, reality itself. This is no accident. Every one of those concepts provides stability and clarity to a society. Their deconstruction elicits doubt, instability and confusion in that same society.

A society unceasingly marinated in the latter qualities is one being primed for tyranny. It is a tyranny where the only “evil” that will be universally recognized by these leftist jackboots is dissent, a reality already playing itself out on college campuses replete with “free speech zones,” “safe rooms,” and “micro-aggresson” warning labels that accompany any deviation from leftist ideology. A reality played out over and over again in popular culture where anyone who defies this ongoing assault is portrayed as unhip and out of touch at best, or a “bitter clinging” racist, homophobe, misogynist, etc. who must die off before true “enlightenment” can occur.

Yet it is exactly the Left’s intolerance of dissent that reveals its desperation. Most Americans intuitively understand there is no enlightenment that attends a nation of balkanized, ethnic subgroups purposefully played off against one another. They know a question as simple as “where do babies come from?” is utterly anathema to the Left’s efforts to deny biology reality that, with the rarest of exceptions, accrues to the vast majority of human beings. They know that every place leftist policies have been unchallenged for decades has yielded unprecedented levels of misery and despair, as the pathologies that beset cities like Detroit, Baltimore and a soon-to-be bankrupt Chicago indicate.

Denying reality itself is the last gasp. Because if there is no reality, then all things are possible.

Last week in Nigeria a restaurant was shut down for cooking human flesh and serving it to customers. A bag containing bloody, severed heads was found in the kitchen. Most people consider a story like this shocking. That is only possible in a world where good and evil still exist, and reality itself cannot be denied — all the leftist-imposed “fluidity” in the world notwithstanding.



US military intelligence documents predicted rise of Islamic State

SECRET documents obtained via freedom of information requests reveal the US military predicted the rise of IS well before the group began making headlines around the world.

Over a 100 pages of classified reports from the Department of Defence and the State Department obtained by conservative watchdog Judicial Watch paint a starkly different picture to what the Obama administration had previously portrayed to the public.

Among the documents is an August 2012 report containing military intel which predicted the rise of the Islamic State in the wake of regime change in Syria.

The document outlined the “dire consequences on the Iraqi situation,” and potential opportunity for the terrorist group, which grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Many of the “dire consequences” were redacted but the report highlights the known intent to establish a caliphate in the country.

“This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq) to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi,” the document states.

“ISI (Islamic State of Iraq) could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organisations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”

The intelligence is largely at odds with comments made by President Obama in a 60 Minutes interview in September last year in which he said the US intelligence underestimated IS.

“I think they (US intelligence operatives) had underestimated what had been going on in Syria,” he said while also suggesting his administration over-estimated the strength of Iraqi government forces.

His comments were slammed by Republican Senator John McCain at the time. “We predicted this and watched it,” said the man Obama defeated in the 2008 Presidential elections.

“It was like watching a train wreck and warning every step of the way that this was happening.”

The document is dated August 5, 2012. Seventeen months later, President Obama dismissed the terrorist group as a “JV team” — a high school sporting term used to imply something is second rate.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV (junior varsity) team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said in January 2014.

His comments came months before the 2012 Presidential election and were uncharacteristically dismissive for an administration which has been careful not to understate global security threats.

The release of the documents could also prove troubling for Presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton.

Contained in the reports is the information that the US had identified al-Qaeda as the culprit of the 2012 attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi which killed two American diplomats.

Secretary of State at the time, Clinton had told the public the attack was a spontaneous one which grew out of a protest and was not an organised terror plot.

However a report obtained by Judicial Watch was sent to the office of Clinton on the morning after the attack and made no mention of any demonstrations taking place.

The handling and disinformation in the wake of the attack became a huge scandal in the US which culminated in Clinton’s fiery testimony to Congress over the issue.

An October 2012 report also reveals the Obama administration was aware of a shipment of weapons from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria.

“Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125mm and 155mm howitzers missiles,” the document states.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Buchanan strikes back

I like a lot of what Pat Buchanan says  -- his knowledge of history is exceptional -- but I disagree with his views below.  He clearly has no background in economics.  His major point below is that largely bipartisan measures fostering free trade have led to a large loss of American factory jobs -- with most consumer products now being made in China.  What he refuses to look at is the great enrichment of Americans that freeish trade has brought about.  You now get far more for your dollar by buying Chinese. It's much the same in Australia.  I have seen the price of some electrical goods plummet from around $100 to $10.  That's phenomenal.

Buchanan notes that America is now much less self-sufficient than it was but America is not at war with the rest of the world and the huge trade relationship with China is surely a strong force for peace.  America would not want to cut itself off from its major supplier and China would not want to cut itself off from its major customer.

And the situation in fact gives America a lot of leverage.  If China became particularly annoying, America could without great bother embargo the import of all Chinese products.  Suppliers in Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam and elsewhere could readily take up the slack and replace China as suppliers.  China, on the other hand, could not at all replace America as a customer.  So China has now to a substantial extent put itself in America's power.  Not that the black jellyfish in the White House at present would ever exercise such power.

And moving Americans out of assembly line jobs surely has a lot to be said for it also

As Middle America rises in rage against "fast track" and the mammoth Obamatrade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, The Wall Street Journal has located the source of the malady.

Last Monday's lead editorial began:

"Here we go again. In the 1990s Pat Buchanan launched a civil war within the Republican Party on a platform targeting immigration and trade. Some claimed Pitchfork Pat was the future of the GOP, though in the end he mainly contributed to its presidential defeats."

But, woe is us, "the GOP's Buchanan wing is making a comeback."

Now it is true that, while Nixon and Reagan won 49-state landslides and gave the GOP five victories in six presidential contests, the party has fallen upon hard times. Only once since 1988 has a Republican presidential nominee won the popular vote.

But was this caused by following this writer's counsel? Or by the GOP listening to the deceptions of its Davos-Doha-Journal wing?

In the 1990s, this writer and allies in both parties fought NAFTA, GATT and MFN for China. The Journal and GOP establishment ran with Bill and Hillary and globalization. And the fruits of their victory?

Between 2000 and 2010, 55,000 U.S. factories closed and 5 million to 6 million manufacturing jobs disappeared. Columnist Terry Jeffrey writes that, since 1979, the year of maximum U.S. manufacturing employment, "The number of jobs in manufacturing has declined by 7,231,000 — or 37 percent."

Does the Journal regard this gutting of the greatest industrial base the world had ever seen, which gave America an independence no republic had ever known, an acceptable price of its New World Order?

Beginning in 1991, traveling the country and visiting plant after plant that was shutting down or moving to Asia or Mexico, some of us warned that this economic treason against America's workers would bring about political retribution. And so it came to pass.

Since 1988, a free-trade Republican Party has not once won Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois or Wisconsin in a presidential election. Ohio, the other great Midwest industrial state, is tipping. The Reagan Democrats are gone. Who cast them aside? You or us?

Since the early 1990s, we have run $3 billion to $4 billion in trade deficits with China. Last year's was $325 billion, or twice China's defense budget. Are not all those factories, jobs, investment capital and consumer dollars pouring into China a reason why Beijing has been able to build mighty air and naval fleets, claim sovereignty over the South and East China seas, fortify reefs 1,000 miles south of Hainan Island, and tell the U.S. Navy to back off?

The Journal accuses us of being anti-growth. But as trade surpluses add to a nation's GDP, trade deficits subtract from it. Does the Journal think our $11 trillion in trade deficits since 1992 represents a pro-growth policy?

On immigration, this writer did campaign on securing the border in 1991-92, when there were 3 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

But the Bush Republicans refused to seal the border.

Now there are 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants and the issue is tearing the party apart. Now everybody is for "secure borders."

We did urge a "moratorium" on legal immigration, such as America had from 1924 to 1965, to assimilate and Americanize the millions who had come. The Journal Republicans called that xenophobia.

Since then, tens of millions of immigrants, here legally and illegally, mostly from the Third World, have arrived. Economically, they consume more in tax dollars than they contribute.

Politically, most belong to ethnic groups that vote between 70 and 90 percent Democratic. Their children will bury the GOP.

Consider California, which voted for Nixon all five times he was on a national ticket and for Reagan in landslides all four times he ran.

Since 1988, California has not gone Republican in a single presidential election. No Republican holds statewide office. Both U.S. Senators are Democrats. Democrats have 39 of 53 U.S. House seats. Republican state legislators are outnumbered 2-to-1.

Americans of European descent, who provide the GOP with 90 percent of its presidential vote, are down to 63 percent of the nation and falling.  By 2042, they will be a minority. And there goes the GOP.



Jindal on Hillary Clinton's Vision: 'It Sounds Like Reeducation Camps'

Gov. Bobby Jindal (R.-La.) told Fox News on Sunday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sounded like she was pushing for “re-education camps” when she said "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed" on abortion.

"The reality is first of all you listen to her language: ‘our religious beliefs need to be changed.’ It sounds like reeducation camps. She didn't say specifically how she wants us to change our beliefs. My religious beliefs aren't between me and Hillary Clinton. They're between me and God," Jindal said.

Jindal was asked what he thought about Clinton saying religious beliefs will have to be changed in terms of abortion.

Speaking at the "Women in the World" Summit last month, Clinton said women won't have full access to "reproductive health care" until "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases" are changed.

"Yes we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half but far too many women are denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth. All the laws we've passed don't count for much if they're not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will, and deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed," Clinton said.

Jindal also criticized Clinton and the left for how they construe freedom of religion.

"That's the dangerous view of the left. You hear Hillary Clinton, President Obama, when they say you've got freedom of religious expression. For them what that really means is you're allowed to go to church and say whatever you want for an hour or two a week. That doesn't mean you've got the real religious liberty rights our Founding Fathers intended. They intended we should be able to live our lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, according to our beliefs," Jindal said.

"Our Founding Fathers would never recognize what the left is trying to do. They're trying to take God out of the public square. They're trying to make America a much more secular country. They're trying to make faith something that is private, circumscribed, something you've got to put into a corner. That's not the America our Founding Fathers would've recognized, not an America our parents would've recognized. It's not an America I hope our children recognize,” he said.



Sharpton's Daughter Learns the Shakedown

Dominique Sharpton believes NYC owes her $5 mil because that's where she was when she tripped and sprained her ankle.

Al Sharpton's oldest daughter, 29 year old Dominique, has filed a lawsuit against New York City because she tripped while crossing the street and sprained her ankle. The alleged fall happened in October of last year, and she was pictured wearing a walking boot several times in the following few weeks. Shortly afterwards, she began wearing very high heels again, demonstrating that her ankle had healed. By December, she was participating in her father's Justice for All March through DC.

In the lawsuit she claims that her fall left her "severely injured, bruised, and wounded." Although she stated on her social media pages that she "sprained [her] ankle real bad lol," the lawsuit alleges that her unspecified injuries were much more severe. She and her lawyer claim she has, "internal and external injuries to the whole body, lower and upper limbs, the full extent of which are unknown, permanent pain and mental anguish."

These claims of full-body injury and "permanent pain," may be difficult to prove, given that she recently climbed a mountain while vacationing in Bali. She posted a selfie taken from the top of the mountain on her social media pages. It's unlikely that she would have been able to perform that feat were she still in pain. It's even more unlikely that a simple sprain or bruising from a typical trip would cause "permanent pain." If she were truly "still suffering," as the lawsuit alleges climbing a mountain should have been nearly impossible.

Dominique is seeking $5 million from the city to compensate for her "loss of quality of life, future pain and suffering, future medical bills, and future diminution of income."

No explanation has been offered as to how a sprained ankle last October will affect her income in the future. She works for her father's organization and none of the work she does should be anywhere near as physical as climbing a mountain.



Obama's slimy language again

Thomas Sowell

In a recent panel discussion on poverty at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama gave another demonstration of his mastery of rhetoric — and disregard of reality.

One of the ways of fighting poverty, he proposed, was to “ask from society’s lottery winners” that they make a “modest investment” in government programs to help the poor.

Since free speech is guaranteed to everyone by the First Amendment to the Constitution, there is nothing to prevent anybody from asking anything from anybody else. But the federal government does not just “ask” for money. It takes the money it wants in taxes, usually before the people who have earned it see their paychecks.

Despite pious rhetoric on the left about “asking” the more fortunate for more money, the government does not “ask” anything. It seizes what it wants by force. If you don’t pay up, it can take not only your paycheck, it can seize your bank account, put a lien on your home and/or put you in federal prison.

So please don’t insult our intelligence by talking piously about “asking.”

And please don’t call the government’s pouring trillions of tax dollars down a bottomless pit “investment.” Remember the soaring words from Barack Obama, in his early days in the White House, about “investing in the industries of the future”? After Solyndra and other companies in which he “invested” the taxpayers' money went bankrupt, we haven’t heard those soaring words so much.

Then there are those who produced the wealth that politicians want to grab. In Obama’s rhetoric, these producers are called “society’s lottery winners.”

Was Bill Gates a lottery winner? Or did he produce and sell a computer operating system that allows billions of people around the world to use computers, without knowing anything about the inner workings of this complex technology?

Was Henry Ford a lottery winner? Or did he revolutionize the production of automobiles, bringing the price down to the point where cars were no longer luxuries of the rich but vehicles that millions of ordinary people could afford, greatly expanding the scope of their lives?

Most people who want to redistribute wealth don’t want to talk about how that wealth was produced in the first place. They just want “the rich” to pay their undefined “fair share” of taxes. This “fair share” must remain undefined because all it really means is “more.”

Once you have defined it — whether at 30 percent, 60 percent or 90 percent — you wouldn’t be able to come back for more.

Obama goes further than other income redistributionists. “You didn’t build that!” he declared to those who did. Why? Because those who created additions to the world’s wealth used government-built roads or other government-provided services to market their products.

And who paid for those roads and other government-provided services if not the taxpayers? Since all other taxpayers, as well as non-taxpayers, also use government facilities, why are those who created private wealth not to use them also, since they are taxpayers as well?

The fact that most of the rhetorical ploys used by Barack Obama and other redistributionists will not stand up under scrutiny means very little politically. After all, how many people who come out of our schools and colleges today are capable of critical scrutiny?

When all else fails, redistributionists can say, as Obama did at Georgetown University, that “coldhearted, free-market capitalist types” are people who “pretty much have more than you’ll ever be able to use and your family will ever be able to use,” so they should let the government take that extra money to help the poor.

Slippery use of the word “use” seems to confine it to personal consumption. The real question is whether the investment of wealth is likely to be done better by those who created that wealth in the first place or by politicians. The track record of politicians hardly suggests that turning ever more of a nation’s wealth over to them is likely to turn out well.

It certainly has not turned out well in the American economy under Barack Obama.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Black Brain, White Brain?

There came out recently a book called Black Brain, White Brain -- by  Gavin Evans.  It seems to have got some acclaim so I thought I might say a bit about it.  That task seems to be facilitated by an article by Evans under the same heading which appeared just over a month ago.  The article seems to summarize the main points of the book and thus spares me the time of reading the book.  But if there are things in the book which undermine any of the things I day below, I would be delighted to hear of it.

The main point of the book seems to be an accusation that it is racist to discuss the black/white IQ gap.  And like all other efforts in that direction that I know of it does a lot of huffing and puffing and declaring things obvious rather than providing proof of them.  The abusive and intemperate writing by Evans may be judged by his reference to "racist science that has been spewing out of the computers". Do computers spew? His use of abusive language like that is certainly a strong indication that he has a weak case that he is trying to cover up. "fester" and "dangerous" are other emotive words he uses.  Abuse in lieu of facts is a very familiar Leftist modus operandi.  And a few of Evans's  assertions do seem to be simply wrong.

And in the best Leftist style, his writing is almost entirely an appeal to authority.  Quite illogically, he thinks that because other people have declared something wrong then it must be wrong.  That many people have declared genetically-oriented treatments of the black/white IQ gap to be wrong and mistaken proves nothing at all.  It simply shows that most academics are Leftist.  For Evans to have written in any sort of scholarly way, he would have to list the main points where the genetic writers were found to be in error.  He does not do that.

He seems to think that he has made a great point by saying that no one gene for IQ  has been discovered.  So what?  IQ researchers have for decades accepted with perfect calm that  IQ is polygenetic.  Whether one gene or many is behind a difference may make research more or less difficult but it does not take away from the fact that the difference is genetic. And the genes that do contribute to IQ differences are being discovered all the time.  I must make a list of the studies concerned some time. I have noted quite a few on this blog.

He then goes on to claim that intelligence has not evolved for 100,000 years.  That completely ignores the work of Bruce Lahn, who showed a major evolutionary change in brain size about 5,000 years ago, a change which coincided with the birth of civilization and which is almost unknown in Africa. Pesky!

Another claim by Evans:  "Other studies have also shown that the IQs of children adopted into middle class homes rise significantly and that these increases can persist into adulthood".  He is right about the first part but wrong about the second part. Manipulations of the environment can improve IQ scores in childhood and even into the teens but by about age 30, all those improvements are lost.  By age 30 most environmental influences have washed out and the genetic endowment comes to the fore.

And then Evans gets on to the good ol' Flynn effect. So much has been written about that that I hesitate to write any more but in summary, the Flynn effect seems to be an artifact of increasing years of schooling and the test sophistication that engenders.  On important IQ subtests -- such as vocabulary -- where being test-wise does not help -- there has been very little movement in scores.  And in some advanced countries -- such as Nederland -- the rise has petered out, as one would expect if it was just a one-time artifact that had approached an asymptote (maximum value).

Finally, I am amazed by his assertion that "black American IQs are rising at a faster rate than those of white Americans".  I know of no evidence for that.  In fact, on some indices, the black/white gap is increasing.  So I guess I will have to "fester" away in my conclusion that there are real and inborn differences between the average IQs of blacks and whites.

And let's not have the old nonsense that IQ tests measure something limited and mysterious.  They measure general problem-solving ability, which is why researchers tend to use the term 'g' instead of 'IQ'.

And I may note that my view of IQ is no longer academically marginalized stuff at all. I don't quite know whether to be pleased or disappointed but it seems that mainstream psychology is catching up with what psychometricians such as myself have been saying for years: That IQ is highly general, highly central, highly hereditary and of overwhelming importance in determining people's life-chances. Not so long ago any claim to that effect would be very marginal within psychology and would expose anyone making it to all sorts of nasty accusations.

But you can now read it all not in some obscure academic journal or some Rightist source but in a 2004 issue (vol. 86 no. 1) of the American Psychological Association's most widely-circulated journal -- the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Article after article there sets out the importance of IQ. And for social psychologists to be taking an interest in such evidence is really amazing. Psychometricians have known all that stuff for years. It is the social psychologists who have been most resistant to such ideas.  I guess that even an organization as Leftist as the American Psychological Association has to come to terms with the evidence eventually.

And note that the APA conceded some time ago that "African American IQ scores have long averaged about 15 points below those of Whites".  15 points is one standard deviation, which is a huge difference -- accounting for 34% of the distribution.  So it looks like I've got a lot of company in my "festering", as Evans calls it. Evans is fighting a lost battle.


Jihadis: An historical perspective

Muslims are not so different. Not only Hitler preached a similar message of sacrifice but the whole Western world did in WWI.  It took huge defeats and disasters to wipe out that mentality among Westerners.  Islam too will have to be given very heavy blows if they are to come down to earth.  Appeasing them is the opposite of what is needed. Judicious use of nuclear weapons may be needed to bring about the massive deaths required. They will go on killing otherwise. Harry Truman, where are you?

Quotes from Hitler on "Sacrifice"

1) The preservation of the existence of a species presuppose a spirit of sacrifice.

2) The state-forming forces are the ability and will of the individual to sacrifice himself for the totality.

3) The young regiments had not gone to their death crying "Long live universal suffrage and the secret ballot," but crying "Deutschland uber Alles in der Welt."

4) The most precious blood sacrificed itself joyfully, in the faith that it was preserving the freedom of the fatherland.

5) In the sacred ground the best comrades slumbered, still almost children, who had run to their death with gleaming eyes for the one true fatherland.

6) When in the long war years Death snatched so many a dear comrade and friend from our ranks, it would have seemed to me almost a sin to complain-after all, were, they not dying for Germany?

7) The Aryan willingly subordinates his own ego to the life of the community and, if the hour demands, even sacrifices it.

8) In giving one's life for the existence of the community lies the crown of all sacrifice.

9) Any man who loves his people proves it solely by the sacrifices which he is prepared to make for it.

10) What made men die was not concern for their daily bread, but love of the fatherland.

11) The idea of military service dawned on my lads in terms of the duty to sacrifice the life of the individual, always and forever, at all times and places.

12) Thousands of young Germans stepped forward to sacrifice their young lives freely and joyfully on the altar of the beloved fatherland.

13) To be "social" means that every individual is so convinced of the goodness of this community as to be ready to die for it.

14) To be “national" means to act with a boundless and all-embracing love for the people and, if necessary, even to die for it.

15) The National Socialist Party looked to those idealists who are ready to sacrifice their own existence to the eternal life of people and of Reich.

16) Life for you German boys and girls must mean sacrifice.

17) Nobody can do more than sacrifice himself for his people, and to that sacrifice we must ever pledge ourselves.

Please examine these statements carefully. One quickly realizes there is nothing unconventional here. Hitler’s rhetoric and ideology were entirely in the tradition of nationalism.

Hitler declared: “Our love towards our people will never falter, and our faith in this German of ours is imperishable.” Nazism begins with love of country, faith in Germany—and willingness to die and kill.

John F. Kennedy (on January 20, 1961) said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Subsequently—particularly after the Vietnam War—the sacrificial imperative in the United States began to fade.

During the period 1990-2000, American military thinking revolved around the idea of “casualty aversion.” The American public too seemed to embrace John Lennon’s proposition that there was nothing worth killing and dying for.

The suicide attacks of September 11, 2001 revived the idea of dying for a cause. Post-modernists had declared the “Death of grand narratives,” but apparently Islamic jihadists had not been persuaded by their texts.

Sacrificial death made a comeback. Bin Laden asserted, “We love death the way you Americans love life.” Not to be outdone, George Bush affirmed that we too possess sacred values: “As you die and kill for Allah, so we die and kill for freedom and democracy.”

Having refocused on sacrificial death, we return to conceptualize the history of the 20th Century. World War I may be understood as a monumental episode undertaken by “devoted actors” who died and killed for sacred values.

Nazism also was a case study in “sacrificial devotion” (Michael Roberts). Hitler declared, “We may be inhumane, but if we rescue Germany we have achieved the greatest deed in the world.” As radical Islamists seek to rescue the ideal of Allah by killing infidels, so did Hitler seek to destroy “non-believers” who did not acknowledge the omnipotence of Germany.



Hysterical Democrats Take the Exploitation Train

In the case of hysterical leftists, their response to every crisis, real or manufactured, is to find the political angle that supports a statist or collectivist policy and begin the echo chamber of victimization and mass protest. The horrific Amtrak derailment is no exception.

First, the facts. Forensic examination of video footage from cameras mounted on the Amtrak passenger train shows that it inexplicably accelerated from 70 mph to 106 mph in the 65 seconds before the crash, all while heading into a turn with an authorized speed limit of 50 mph. This feat, according to Amtrak and the National Transportation Safety Board, should have been impossible due to the train’s design, which allows it to accelerate only via manual control.

Amtrak train No. 188 crashed due to the defiance of the laws of nature and, quite possibly, human error.

Oh, but ne'er a crisis should be lost as an opportunity to level political blame at those who demand accountability, transparency and results in government spending and programs.

After the Philadelphia Amtrak train met with calamity, the eight lives lost and the two hundred plus injured passengers were converted from tragic victims of a horrific accident to props in political theater.

A harsh statement? Well, let’s roll tape.

At a House Transportation Committee hearing Wednesday, only one day after the train wreck, Oregon Democrat Rep. Peter DeFazio was shown blasting Republicans who should be “cognizant of the real world out there, of what happened last night, of what the capital needs of Amtrak are, and will not engage in short-sighted budget cutting.”

Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) decried that a decision to block a $1 billion spending increase was directly responsible for the deadly incident and its victims: “Last night we failed them. We failed to invest in their safety.” This Democrat’s statement was made so early in the first responders' rescue and recovery phase that not all the victims had yet been cleared from the wreckage.

And Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) declared, “We don’t know the connection between funding and this incident, but regardless, Amtrak needs more funding.”

Presstitutes lined up to do their part, parroting the DNC-approved narrative that “mean Republicans wouldn’t increase spending by $1 billion as requested, so people died!” (Imagine that spoken in the most dramatic, angst-filled oratory to get the full intended effect.)

News accounts attempted to tie the House Appropriations vote to the absence of a high-tech safety system — the Positive Train Control (PTC) — that theoretically would govern the Philadelphia train and override any human error or mechanical failure that could cause such a dramatic and inappropriate increase in speed.

The NTSB showed its own reckless behavior in making erroneous and accusatory remarks. The PTC safety system is in place on the very Amtrak line where this crash occurred. Why was this advanced safety system not operational? Government regulation, of course.

The PTC operates through wireless networks requiring Federal Communications Commission approval. FCC negotiations have been ongoing since 2011 to award Amtrak use to implement this system.

In addition to the lie that funding kept the safety system from being installed, the new narrative around the train’s unsafe acceleration will be that Republicans are attacking the engineer for his homosexual and pro-union activism. Funny, the only folks reporting this man’s personal life are the same ones who keep blaming funding for a system already in place but choked in Obamaland bureaucracy.

The Left rewrites the truth one social media hashtag at a time and cranking up the decibel of protest.

Mark Twain seems to capture the value Democrats place on veracity and our fellow American citizens: “Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.”



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

George Stephanopoulos is a left wing operative and not a real journalist: I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!

By Rich Kozlovich

To quote a man who – if he had really lived – would have to be considered one of the world's unique moralists, Captain Renault, played by Claude Rains in Casablanca as he’s ordered to close Rick’s American Café for political reasons:

Renault: I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
Employee of Rick's: [hands Renault money] Your winnings, sir.
Renault: Oh, thank you, very much. Everybody out at once!

On May 16, 2015 Onan Coca posted an article titled, “MediaRealizes that Stephanopoulos May Actually be a Liberal Activist and Not a Journalist!” She starts out saying:

“The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple says what everyone else is thinking when it comes to George Stephanopoulos’ recent interview of Clinton Cash author Peter Schweitzer. Instead of simply being a good interview about an important book at the start of a Presidential election campaign… perhaps the interview was actually an attempt by a liberal activist and Clinton ally to put out a fire before it began raging. We’re all talking about this media stuff. But, yes, I think that when George Stephanopoulos goes on with a major figure and talks about, you know, the “Clinton Cash” book or whatever, I could sense that he was going after Peter Schweitzer. At the time, it looked like legitimate journalism. In retrospect, it looks like activism”.

Steve BreenAnd everyone's shocked?  Over the weekend a number of Fox News shows had their talking heads (for clarity sake, I actually like some of the talking heads) do some commentary on this issue. I might point out since it wasn’t corruption by a conservative the MSM pretty much ignored the issue. But there’s no liberal bias….or it’s very limited....Right?  After all….there’s no such thing as a conspiracy. Right? Of course there are those small minded individuals who will wonder if it’s possible there’s a bigger reason why there’s so little coverage by the left wing media. Is it possible this is a deeper story than just good old George? Is it possible they’re all guilty of this kind of stuff? Nah, that can’t be true! They’re full of liberal purity, like the Clintons, and the Kennedy’s.

There were two things that I found amazing.

First off, it amazes me just how many people actually watch this guy. Oh, I know the numbers on the MSM are dwindling, but he’s still has quite a following. I never watched him for more than a few minutes total since his very first show. Why? Because he made his bones as a Clintonista left wing operative and a spin master. It’s part and parcel of who he is. Why would anyone think he would change? He just gets paid a whole lot more from ABC for spinning the truth than he did when he was paid by the Clinton administration for spinning the truth.

Secondly, it never ceases to amaze me how many in the media, including Karl Rove, who attempted to claim Stephanopoulos had made the transition in everyone’s mind from a Democratic activist to a journalist. It reminds me of a time when conservative commentators– perhaps I should say seeming conservative commentators - were crying crocodile tears a few years ago because of the New York Times financial problems, fearing the Old Gray Hag would go out of business. All that hand wringing irrespective of the well known historical facts showing the NYT has been a left wing treasonous canker sore on the butt of journalism since the Roosevelt administration. One reader pointed out his operative status was only a “secret from other media types, which explains why you can't trust any of them, because at best they're only a 5 watt bulb, when a 100 watt bulb is what is needed for that type of job”.

Greg Gutfeld – one of Fox’s talking heads I like – is quoted in the article as she says:

“there is even more reason for concern for ABC. Because on the heels of the Stephanopoulos – Schweitzer interview, the Clintons used the piece to try to discredit the book and its author. They sourced each other, that’s the great thing. It’s like the Clinton campaign fact checks Schweizer’s book, and then Stephanopoulos uses that in the interview and then Clinton goes back to the Stephanopoulos interview and says,“see.” So it’s this little circle of sourcing each other. It’s like two criminals providing each other an alibi.”

But as for the rest of them - I guess they’re just “shocked, shocked” to find there’s corruption going on here, even as they attempt to find reasons to allow these people to continue in their corruption. Apparently they also need to go along to get along in order to play the game.

Here’s another interesting quote from Casablanca I find applicable.

Renault: Rick, there are many exit visas sold in this café, but we know that you've never sold one. That is the reason we permit you to remain open.
Rick: Oh? I thought it was because I let you win at roulette.
Renault: That is another reason.

Nothing is ever as it seems, except to remember that corruption is always part of the human equation. However, since leftism has no moral foundation we should expect higher levels of corruption in everything they do. In their case it’s not a conspiracy. It’s intrinsic to leftist character! Here's one more quote that could help define most of the media, conservative and liberal:

Renault: I have no conviction, if that's what you mean. I blow with the wind, and the prevailing wind happens to be from Vichy.

The difference between Captain Renault and the media? He was honest about his corruption! Now we have clarity!



Obama's Casual Slander of American Christians

Earlier this week, Harvard professor Robert Putnam did a Q&A with Washington Post religion reporter Michelle Boorstein, headlined "Have faith groups been too absent in the fight on poverty?" Here is Putnam's answer to that question:

The obvious fact is that over the last 30 years, most organized religion has focused on issues regarding sexual morality, such as abortion, gay marriage, all of those. I’m not saying if that’s good or bad, but that’s what they’ve been using all their resources for. This is the most obvious point in the world. It’s been entirely focused on issues of homosexuality and contraception and not at all focused on issues of poverty.

That the venerable author of Bowling Alone would say this, let alone declare it "the most obvious point in the world," is a good reminder of that even the most brilliant social scientists are, more often than not, demonstrably full of it. There's a  damning retort to this by Rob Schwarzwalder and Pat Fagan at Religion News Service. Just to give you an idea, a single Christian Charity, World Vision, spends about $2.8 billion on anti-poverty efforts. "That would rank World Vision about 12th within the G20 nations in terms of overseas development assistance," World Vision President Richard Stearns noted in Christianity Today a few years back.

Fagan and Schwarzwelder do a lot more number crunching, but the upshot is that Christians spend billions and billions fighting poverty. Even the most generous estimates of the resources devoted to pro-life causes and organizations defending traditional marriage are just a few hundred million dollars. By contrast, the budget of Planned Parenthood alone is just over a billion dollars. I don't know what the Human Rights Campaign's budget is, but if I've walked by their impressive building in Washington many times and I suspect they could marshall the resources of a small nation.

Now, this is bad enough. But Putnam also recently appeared on a panel at the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Georgetown University discussing this very topic with columnist E.J. Dionne, American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks, and, yes, Barack Obama. The president himself joined in the mendacious chorus:

“Despite great caring and concern,” [Obama] said, “when it comes to what are you really going to the mat for, what's the defining issue, when you're talking in your congregations, what's the thing that is really going to capture the essence of who we are as Christians, or as Catholics, or what have you, that this”—fighting poverty—“is often times viewed as a 'nice to have' relative to an issue like abortion.”

Nice to have? What would be nice to have is a president who's not so divorced from the reality of American Christians that he thinks he has the moral authority to more or less slander millions of well-intentioned Christians. Their lives and the things they care about could not be more different than how it is casually being characterized by a president who has apparently turned the White House into an Ivory Tower.

What about the inner city pastor who wakes up in the middle of the night everytime there's a knock on the door and rummages through his own fridge to feed the homeless guy on his step? What about the ladies of the church Golden Group who spent the last week turning old colorful pillowcases and bits of ribbon into dresses to send to young girls in Haiti who literally have nothing to wear? What about the six-year-old who comes to school with a spare toothbrush and their birthday money because the teacher at her Lutheran School told her that the Orphan Grain Train is helping people in Nepal who lost everything in an earthquake? What about the accomplished professional who drives across town once a week to tutor poor kids, even though he's got more lucrative things on his schedule, just because it's what he believes Jesus Christ wants him to do?

I didn't make up these examples. I know these people. This is my reality as a weekly churchgoer in America, and there are millions and millions of us.

But because presumably some of these same Christians believe that every child is a gift from God, and that abortion is a grave evil up unto the point that they cheerfully and gladly volunteer to take care of as many needy kids as they can, the president himself disingenuously suggests their concern about poverty is relative and inadequate. This is the same president, mind you, that went out of his way to force a legal battle with Little Sisters of the Poor over subsidizing contraception and abortifacients. Based on the name of the organization, I'm guessing these nuns had better things to do than defend their conscience rights from a president who stood by and shrugged at the last Democratic convention where delegates booed God and stripped the "safe, legal and rare" language out of the party platform. And now Obama has the temerity to say that it's Christians who are making abortion too much of a priority.

Speaking of "safe, legal, and rare", I noted that the moderator of this discussion on Christians and poverty was E.J. Dionne, who who worked tirelessly to sell his fellow Christians on Obama. Let's revist this 2008 column of his:

Of course, President-elect Barack Obama's most urgent task is to repair an ailing economy. But one of his important promises was to end the cultural and religious wars that have disfigured American politics for four decades.

Obama, who has shown he can draw lessons from Bill Clinton's presidency, can find one on this issue. Picking up on the pro-choice movement's most popular slogan, Clinton declared during his 1992 campaign that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare."

Abortions did become rarer during Clinton's time in office, dropping by 11 percent. But since Clinton made no major public moves on abortion reduction, many pro-lifers who had been inclined his way felt he ignored the third word in his motto. There's no reason for Obama to make the same mistake -- and no reason for advocates of abortion rights to get in the way of his trying to build a new consensus. He should not lose his chance to make cultural warfare a quaint relic of the past.

Well, after six years of Obama, it seems he didn't exactly live up to his promise to make cultural and religious warfare is a thing of the past. Instead, he deliberately exacerbated the conflict again and again. We're at the point where the man well-intentioned liberal Christians like Dionne said could end the culture wars makes a flatly wrong and objectionable assertion that fighting poverty is an afterthought for Christians too often obsessed with abortion, and nobody bats an eye. Of course, it's been just over two weeks since Obama's solicitor general warned the Supreme Court that if the White House gets its way on gay marriage, churches could be stripped of their tax exempt status. This would have devastating ramifications for the efforts of churches combatting poverty, but when the White House is so engaged in projection that they think that all churches care about is abortion, it starts to explain how they could do something so obviously damaging to the poor and still live with themselves.

It seems obvious that Obama, Putnam, and the liberal elites they speak for want to believe that American Christians are narrow-minded and obsessed to the point of being uncaring. This is an utterly delusional way of discounting the tremendous, literally and figuratively livesaving work of American Christians. But to think about them any other way would be to actually wrestle with the fact that, while we're all imperfect, any political disagreements Christians have be over hot button cultural issues like abortion and gay marriage might actually be motivated by genuine concern and compassion. Those are, not coincidentally, the same reasons that have made fighting poverty one the church's most vital and important missions for millennia.



Patriot Act's most controversial section fades to black

by Jeff Jacoby

SECTION 215 of the Patriot Act will not survive another month. The most controversial piece of the post-9/11 law that broadly expanded the federal government's surveillance powers is set to expire on June 1, and the House of Representatives on Wednesday gave its overwhelming approval to a far less sweeping replacement. On a 338-to-88 vote, Republicans and Democrats registered broad support for the USA Freedom Act, which will end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of "metadata" from millions of Americans' phone records.

The legislation faces some opposition in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing to extend the Patriot Act with no changes. That won't happen. Other Republican senators, including at least two who are running for president, want Section 215 scrapped or curtailed, and the political tides are with them.

Some ardent civil libertarians opposed the Patriot Act from the outset, insisting, somewhat wildly, that it would leave the Bill of Rights in tatters and turn the president into a dictator. Most Americans knew better. In the wake of the terrorist attacks, it seemed only prudent to expand the government's counterintelligence capabilities, and to change the rules that had prevented investigators from "connecting the dots" that could have alerted them to the jihadists' plans. The hysterical alarums about dissenters being rounded up and America turning into a fascist police state gained little traction. For all the controversy they fueled, the law's key provisions — including Section 215 — were extended in 2005, 2010, and 2011.

But as September 11 recedes, the pendulum has shifted from the single-minded focus on counterterrorism and toward a heightened concern with civil liberties.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated) and Coral reef compendium. (Updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)